Make a Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

by Amy Sherman
Print Email

grilledcheeseWould you like to know the secrets to great grilled cheese sandwiches? Heidi Gibson, the Commander-in-Cheese of The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen is a serious grilled cheese champ. She has won more grilled cheese sandwich contests than anyone. Last night I learned from Gibson how to make breakfast and brunch versions of grilled cheese sandwiches and picked up some amazing tips.

So let's get started! 

What's best to slather on your bread?
On the outside Gibson goes with butter, she recommends European style and she likes salted, not unsalted butter so that the sandwich has a bit of "salty crunch" when you bite into it. 

What kind of bread should you use? 
Almost any kind! With the exception of potato bread which does not lend itself well to grilled cheese sandwiches. Bread with holes can be used, but find a cheese that will melt though, giving you crusty "plugs." Some types of bread to consider--levain, sourdough and artisan whole wheat. 

What about seasoning your ingredients? 
Here Gibson breaks with tradition and says, if you have salty ingredients like bacon or ham, don't season each ingredient as you go. Cheese also adds salt, and salted butter will add flavor to your bread. 

 

heidigibsonWhat seasonal ingredients are good to use? 
The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen has offered up sandwiches with brussels sprouts, preserved Meyer lemons, asparagus and even butternut squash. While the sandwiches were delicious, they did not become best sellers with customers looking for more familiar fare. 

What about fruit?
Sure! Gibson particularly likes peaches and strawberries. 

What's the best technique for grilling a sandwich?
It's not using a panini press, which creates a pressed sandwich something different from a traditional grilled cheese according to Gibson. Her technique is to use a hot convection oven. Place your sandwich on a sheet pan or a hot cast iron pan, and cook each side separately before assembling. This technique allows for more fillings and height to a grilled cheese sandwich. 

What pairs best with grilled cheese sandwiches?
Beer! Gibson likes porter with an aged gouda and bacon sandwich and a hoppy IPA with spicier sandwiches. 

MORE TOP TIPS:

Control your moisture. You want to prevent the bread from getting soggy, so if you are using a wetter ingredient like tomatoes or a wetter cheese like fresh mozzarella, layer in between drier ingredients between the bread.

Always put the smaller side of the bread on the outside, so you have more surface area inside. 

Avoid triple cream cheeses and brie which are too delicate for most grilling techniques or use in the middle rather than next to the bread. 

More is not better, be sparing with fillings. The balance of bread and cheese and other fillings is key.

 

Amy Sherman is a San Francisco–based writer, recipe developer, restaurant reviewer and all around culinary enthusiast. She blogs for Epicurious , Bay Area Bites and Cooking with Amy .   

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

 

restaurant news

Little Next Door
Los Angeles
by Juliet Seniff

coffee.jpgIt’s 4 o’clock on Sunday afternoon, and like any well-adjusted twentysomething, I’m eating breakfast.  More specifically, I’m having brioche french toast and cappuccino at the Little Next Door on...

Read more...
Olio Pizzeria
Los Angeles
by Maia Harari

ImageI think there might be a reason most of the neutral or positive reviews of Olio Pizzeria focus mainly on breakfast. Their overhyped pizza crust tastes like english muffins. And, unfortunately,...

Read more...
The Lucky Pig
Northern California
by Amy Sherman

LuckyPigI am somewhat obsessed with a dish called the Lucky Pig, it’s served at Solbar in Calistoga and I order it almost every time I dine there. It’s basically tender roast pork served with a lot of...

Read more...
Talk About Cheesy! Greenspan's Grilled Cheese
Los Angeles
by Annie Stein

greenspans1Greenspans is tiny and sandwiched (no pun intended) in between a bar and some tacky Melrose clothing store on the old Tommy Tang strip of Melrose, where Evan Kleiman opened Angeli Cafe all those...

Read more...